MADISON, Wis. — Cassandra Dixon is a Madison resident who has been traveling to the Palestine territories for over a decade.
During that time she has developed a close relationship with Women in Hebron, which is a Fair Trade Co-Operative.
“These women are incredible, they are brilliant, artistic and creative,” said Dixon. “ They have a fantastic sense of humor and a lot of them have suffered things that would make you lay down and curl up in a ball.”
Prior to the pandemic, Women in Hebron would make enough money selling embroidery in their city, but as things changed financially, they were forced to broaden their reach to countries like the U.S.
That’s where Dixon came into play.
“They need this stuff to come to countries where the money is, and that’s how I started helping them sell their products here,” said Dixon. “From a business standpoint here it is very small but for them it makes a difference because it is all they have.”
Over the years, Dixon has developed a very close relationship with many of the women. Most nights, she speaks with a woman named Lyla, who is living in the West Bank.
“Lyla lives in a household with 14 people, more than half of them are children,” said Dixon.
Before the war started, their conversations were positive and enjoyable, but Dixon said that enjoyment and happiness are all gone now.
“When I talk with Lyla on the phone, which I do most evenings, I can hear the rockets hitting Gaza from there,” said Dixon.
The night a rocket hit the Al-Alhi hospital and killed hundreds of people, Lyla heard it happen.
“When that hospital was bombed, my friend Lyla could hear those rockets going over,” said Dixon. “I could hear her door rattling in the frame.”
Thousands of Palestinians have lost their lives in the Israel-Hamas war, and Dixon said the lives of everyone living in the Palestinian territories has been changed forever.
“It is trauma beyond anything that we have capacity to understand, we can't make pictures of that for ourselves in our minds because we have never seen that,” said Dixon.
Dixon wants the public to know that citizens are not powerless when it comes to putting a stop to this war.
She encourages everyone to speak up or write to their local representative to help find a peaceful solution.
If you are interested in buying embroidery to support the Women of Hebron you can go to Palestinepartners.org.
You can also get involved by adopting an Olive tree in the Palestinian territories.